The Winter Blues

Daryl’s FIT TIP of The Day: 
During the winter months there is a change in daylight patterns. There is fewer hours with sunshine, which causes a direct change in the circadian rhythms of the body. Serotonin levels naturally drop during times of darkness. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter that is known as the “mood balancer” or “the feel good chemical.” When serotonin levels are low the central nervous system becomes depressed. This is why so many people who live in the colder climate and dark areas in the winter tend to be more depressed than folks living in the warmer climates.
One of the side effects of low serotonin levels is carbohydrate eating. Carbs act as a “false” serotonin booster. Innately when the CNS is depressed the brain activates cravings for sugar to force production of serotonin. Unfortunately, FAT GAIN is usually the result during the winter months because of the high consumption of carbohydrates. To help ward off the winter blues and to naturally boost serotonin levels without succumbing to the dreaded carbohydrate loading cycle here are a couple things you can do:
* Use light therapy lamps. These lights mimic the sun’s light and activates the pineal gland, which is what jumpstarts the brain.
* On sunny days try to spend at least 10 minutes in the sun, even during the cold winter days. Even this small amount of natural sunlight can be beneficial for curing the winter blues. Vitamin D is an important vitamin and is received from the sun’s rays.
* Exercise. Exercise activates the entire anabolic hormone cycle of the body and naturally increases endorphins, enkephalins, and serotonin. In addition, exercise helps regulate sugar and fat metabolism.
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